Foods For Better Blood Circulation

Problems with blood circulation come at a high cost. Healthy, efficient blood flow throughout the body guarantees that the arteries are carrying oxygen and nutrients to all of the body's tissues. In addition, it ensures that our veins are carrying waste products and carbon dioxide back to the heart, liver, and lungs for processing and elimination (via Vein Clinics of America). Problems with circulation can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms, like fatigue, muscle cramps, feeling cold in the hands and feet, varicose veins, and more.

Just like there are several factors that can contribute to poor circulation, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions, there are several steps that can help improve circulation. Getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating healthy can all help. However, there are some foods, drinks, and seasonings that are known for their ability to improve circulation. 

Green tea has been associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, and research shows it promotes blood vessel health. "Green tea [can] actually protect your endothelial lining, or the lining of blood vessels," Dr. William Li, physician and vascular biologist, told MindBodyGreen. Prefer black tea instead? It also offers similar benefits.

Cayenne, turmeric, and garlic can all help circulation

Beets contain nitrates — naturally occurring chemicals — which the body converts into nitric oxide when eaten. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, which causes the blood vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood flow.

Leafy greens, like kale, collard greens, and spinach, are also rich in naturally occurring nitrates, which promote vascular health. Just make sure to chew them well to get the maximum benefit. "When you chew your spinach, you are allowing the gut bacteria in your tongue and in your mouth to change the nitrates that are in your spinach," Dr. Li tells MindBodyGreen. "You swallow those, and then it turns it into a chemical form that dilates your blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and makes your blood vessels healthier."

Herbs and spices, including cinnamon, cayenne pepper, garlic, and turmeric, are all known to promote blood flow and reduce blood pressure (via Healthline). They also add great flavor to many dishes.